Trumped up war with Syria

SUBHEAD: In order to to save his presidency the Donald will have to connive a "Fatal "Distraction".

By  Juan Wilson on 11 April 2018 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2018/04/trumped-up-war-with-syria.html)


Image above:Trump, Pence, Bolten meet with US military leaders on Syrian crisis.From (https://www.politico.eu/article/syria-crisis-collides-with-donald-trump-chaos-russia-vladimir-putin/).

Anybody here remember how the United States was conned into a full out effort to join into the Vietnam War?

Under President Kennedy our "contribution" to keeping South Vietnam from joining the north in what might be a Communist union had been through "advisors" - a few tens-of-thousands - who provided expertise, communications, weapons and aerial and naval backup.

Even so the corrupt South Vietnamese government was unable to beat back the revolution.

In 1965 US President Lyndon Johnson's CIA came up with a plan fort us to join into the ware effort openly.

Our Navy, in August of 1964 arranged for the US Maddox to be in the Gulf of Tonkin off the North Vietnam port of Hai Phong and was met by North Vietnam naval patrol boats.

The ensuing engagements in international waters of North Vietnam were our excuse to enter into the longest (and most useless) American war.

Until we got into the endless Middle East War that has destroyed several nation states that include Afghanistran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and now Syria.

Donald Trump's crimes of corruption are about to destroy his presidency. There are a limited number of unlikely scenarios that might save it... economic collapse or more war.

We now have a convenient "war crime" in Syria to act on.

It's not exactly clear if Syria's President Bashar al-Assad decided on a chemical ware attack on innocent civilians as part of a desire for suicide, or one of his bombs hit a military target where chemical weapons were stored or the event was caused by another party in order to instigate a war that America would see as its destiny.

In any case it is convenient for Trump to deflect interest in the investigation that is about to show his bottomless corruption with organized criminal oligarchs working out of the remnants of the former Soviet Union. So war it is!

See articles below for a hint where Justice Department is going. Why the Cohen warrant search reaction while Trump sits with military brass on subject of Syria War.



Trump knows he's the real target
(https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/trump-knows-hes-real-target-fbi-raid-michael-cohen)

SUBHEAD: "It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for."

President Trump made a statement on Monday that many people in American never thought they'd hear from him. He said, "It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for."

Unfortunately, the president wasn't talking about the interference in our democratic election process in 2016.

He was referring to the FBI warrants served on his attorney Michael Cohen's office and two residences that morning, in which agents seized documents reportedly pertaining to suspected wire fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Trump believes that such an investigation is an attack on America because he believes it is an attack on him.

To paraphrase a quip from the great Molly Ivins, it sounded better in the original French: L'├ętat, c'est moi.

Trump was very worked up, so worked up that he spent the first 15 minutes or so of a televised photo-op with his national security team and the Joint Chiefs railing against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Hillary Clinton and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, among others.

It wasn't the first time we've seen this president deliver a petulant and angry denunciation of the Russia probe. But to do it as he sat around a table with the military brass, for a meeting called to decide how to respond to a chemical warfare attack, was stunningly narcissistic even for him.

The cameras didn't show much of his team, but one can imagine how they felt being led by such a man.

It's not hard to imagine how most people in the country felt either. No one will ever describe Donald Trump as a leader who shows grace under pressure.

These warrants were issued by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (a Trump appointee, by the way), based on a referral from the special counsel's office. Nobody is quite sure exactly why it happened that way.

Some have speculated that this is about the Stormy Daniels case, and therefore far afield from Mueller's mandate, while others have suggested that Mueller passed this to a federal prosecutor to avoid the accusation that he crossed Trump's (nonexistent) red line.

At this point, all we can say for sure is that all warrants targeting an attorney go through an extraordinary process all the way up the line in the Department of Justice and are subject to extreme scrutiny by the magistrates who must approve them.

These are all lawyers, and by training and instinct they are protective of attorney-client privilege. The U.S. Attorneys’ Manual identifies six additional safeguards to ensure that the Department of Justice doesn't violate it in cases where an attorney is the subject of an investigation.

This particular lawyer is also the president's personal attorney, so it's fair to assume investigators were careful to demonstrate probable cause that Cohen had committed a crime in the course of representing his client and that he would be likely to destroy the evidence if they simply subpoenaed his records.

That may be the most extraordinary aspect of this entire event, although if you look at the way Cohen has talked and behaved over the years, it's not hard to see why someone might assume he could do that.

Nonetheless, any prosecutor would have to be aware of the political implications, and think long and hard about whether or not he or she had the goods to pursue such a case.
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Nobody should have been all that surprised by this, least of all Michael Cohen himself. He's at the center of the Stormy Daniels case, and the president unhelpfully exacerbated his problems last Friday on Air Force One when he referred questions about the alleged $130,000 payment to "my attorney Michael Cohen."

There is some speculation that he and Cohen believed they'd be protected by attorney-client privilege; if so, they were wrong.

But while that probably didn't help, it's almost certainly the reason Cohen's office and homes were raided on Monday. There's plenty of reporting to indicate that Cohen has been in the crosshairs for quite some time.

The Washington Post reported back in March that Mueller's office was interrogating witnesses about Cohen's negotiations during the presidential campaign to build a Moscow Trump Tower.

Reportedly, investigators were also exploring the odd story about the Russia-friendly "peace proposal" for Ukraine that Cohen received about a week after Trump was inaugurated.

Last week McClatchy reported that Mueller's team had shown up unannounced at the home of an unnamed Trump Organization business associate, "armed with subpoenas compelling electronic records and sworn testimony."

This person had reportedly worked with the company on overseas deals for years, and investigators were specifically interested in interactions with Cohen.

According to The New York Times on Monday, Mueller is also interested in a $150,000 payment paid to the Trump Foundation by a Ukrainian oligarch for a brief speech Trump gave during the presidential campaign. (You will recall that Trump has a way of pocketing money collected for his foundation.)

That deal was allegedly solicited by Michael Cohen. This apparently doesn't pertain to the warrants issued on Monday but rather the subpoenas issued to the Trump Organization last month.

Whether various federal officials are tracking Cohen's activities overseas, like the Moscow tower or the Ukraine speech, or the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels, it looks as though all roads lead to President Trump's personal lawyer.

Considering that it's well understood whom Michael Cohen is working for every minute of every day, that means the road dead-ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.



Trump reacts to Cohen raid
By Michael D. Shear on 9 April 2018 for the New York Times

(https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/us/politics/trump-cohen-mueller-full-transcript.html)

President Trump spoke to reporters on Monday at the beginning of a meeting with military leaders and national security officials. He reacted to the news that the F.B.I. raided the office of his personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and discussed his frustrations with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the special counsel’s investigation being led by Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Trump also touched on the potential for military action in Syria in the wake of a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government that killed dozens of people over the weekend.

The following is a transcript of those remarks, as prepared by The New York Times, with analysis from The Times’s Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I just heard that they broke in to the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down. We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages worth of documents to the special counsel.
Analysis
If there was one sign that Mr. Trump was furious about the raids of Mr. Cohen’s office and hotel, it was this phrase: They “broke in to the office.” Arms crossed, the president was clearly angry about how his friend and loyal attorney was treated — and did little to hide it.
TRUMP: They continue to just go forward and here we are talking about Syria, we’re talking about a lot of serious things with the greatest fighting force ever, and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now, and actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started.

And it’s a disgrace, it’s frankly a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.

So when I saw this and when I heard it — I heard it like you did — I said that is really now in a whole new level of unfairness. So this has been going on, I saw one of the reporters who is not necessarily a fan of mine, not necessarily very good to me, he said in effect that this is ridiculous, this is now getting ridiculous. They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia, the reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion.
Analysis
In a presidency not known for consistency, Mr. Trump has never wavered from his insistence that “they found no collusion.” In fact, what congressional investigators have always said is they had not yet determined whether the president or his aides had colluded with the Russians. Mr. Mueller has not said publicly one way or the other.

TRUMP: This is the most biased group of people, these people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen. Democrats, all — or just about all — either Democrats, or a couple of Republicans that worked for President Obama — they’re not looking at the other side.

They’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton, horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed. They’re not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, from the Republican side, and I think even the independent side.
Analysis
Mr. Trump immediately focused on Mr. Mueller and his team, but in fact, Monday’s raids were authorized by a United States attorney who was appointed by Mr. Sessions and is a former law partner of Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Trump supporter. They were not authorized by Mr. Mueller.

TRUMP: They only keep looking at us. So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, “Well, let’s keep going,” and they raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning and I think it’s a disgrace.

So we’ll be talking about it more, but this is the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen. The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself, or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself and we would have used a — put a different attorney general in. So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country, but you’ll figure that out.
Analysis
Mr. Trump’s statement that “we’ll be talking about it more” — a reference to bias among the special counsel’s team — is an ominous one, suggesting that he might do something about it. What that would be is unclear, though adversaries and allies alike have at times worried that he might fire Mr. Mueller.
TRUMP: All I can say is after looking for a long period of time, not even before the special counsel because it really started just about from the time I won the nomination, and you look at what took place and what happened and it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. I’ve been president now for what seems like a lengthy period of time. We’ve done a fantastic job. We’ve beaten ISIS. We have just about 100 percent of the caliphate or the land. Our economy is incredible.

The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of, you know, this nonsense that’s going on. It dropped a lot. It was up — way up — and then it dropped quite a bit at the end, a lot. But that we have to go through that, we’ve had that hanging over us now from the very, very beginning and yet the other side, they don’t even bother looking. And the other side is where there are crimes, and those crimes are obvious:

Lies under oath, all over the place, emails that are knocked out, that are acid-washed and deleted, nobody’s ever seen — 33,000 emails are deleted after getting a subpoena for Congress, and nobody bothers looking at that.
Analysis
After repeatedly hailing stock market increases during his first year in office, Mr. Trump has all but ignored the market’s steep declines in the wake of his protectionist trade policies. So it was ironic that the president would blame what he called “this nonsense” for a drop in the stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average actually ended the day up slightly after at one point rising nearly 400 points.
TRUMP: And many, many other things, so I just think it’s a disgrace that a thing like this can happen.

With all of that being said, we are here to discuss Syria tonight. We’re the greatest fighting force anywhere in the world. These gentlemen and ladies are incredible people. Incredible talent, and we’re making a decision as to what we do with respect to the horrible attack that was made near Damascus, and it will be met, and it will be met forcefully. And when, I will not say because I don’t like talking about timing, but we are developing the greatest force that we’ve ever had.

We had $700 billion just approved, which was the reason I went along with that budget, because we had to fix our military. General Mattis would tell you that above anybody, we had to fix our military and right now we’re in a big process of doing that, $700 million and then $716 billion next year. So we’re going to make a decision tonight or very shortly thereafter and you’ll be hearing the decision.

But we can’t let atrocities like we all witnessed, and you can see that and it’s horrible. We can’t let that happen. In our world, we can’t let that happen. Especially when we’re able to, because of the power of the United States, because of the power of our country, we’re able to stop it.

I want to thank Ambassador John Bolton for joining us. I think he’s going to be a fantastic representative of our team. He’s highly respected by everybody in this room and, John, I want to thank you very much, this is going to be a lot of work.

Interesting day, he picked today as his first day. So, generals, I think he picked the right day. But certainly you’re going to find it very exciting but you are going to do a fantastic job and I appreciate you joining us.
Analysis
The president shifted briefly to Syria, taking note of John R. Bolton’s first day as national security adviser. He hinted that the United States would respond militarily to the chemical attacks in that country, saying that “we can’t let atrocities like we all witnessed” happen. He did not indicate whether Mr. Bolton — a noted national security hawk — had argued for a strike.
JOHN R. BOLTON: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

REPORTER: Any concerns about what the F.B.I. might find, Mr. President?

TRUMP: No.

REPORTER: Do you have any concerns?

TRUMP: No, I’m not.

REPORTER: Did you have an affair with Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: Why don’t I just fire Mueller?

REPORTER: Yeah, just fire the guy.

TRUMP: Well, I think it’s a disgrace, what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. But I think it’s really a sad situation when you look at what happened. And many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.
Analysis
Among Mr. Trump’s verbal tics is the phrase “we’ll see what happens.” He says it all the time. So when he was asked why he doesn’t just fire Mr. Mueller, it popped out. It is not clear whether that means he is really considering doing that, or if the response was just another instance of this habit.

TRUMP: If you know the person who’s in charge of the investigation, you know all about that deputy Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, he wrote the letter very critical of Comey. One of the things I said, I fired Comey, well, I turned out to do the right thing because you look at all of the things that he’s done and the lies and you look at what’s gone on at the F.B.I. with the insurance policy and all of the things that happened, turned out I did the right thing. But he signed, as you know, he also signed the FISA warrant.

So Rod Rosenstein, who’s in charge of this, signed a FISA warrant, and he also, he also signed a letter that was essentially saying to fire James Comey, and he was right about that. He was absolutely right. So we’ll see what happens. I think it’s disgraceful and so does a lot of other people. This is a pure and simple witch hunt. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you.
Analysis
The president appointed Rod J. Rosenstein to be the deputy attorney general. But at Monday’s meeting, he criticized him for signing a FISA warrant, an apparent reference to the fact that Mr. Rosenstein had authorized agents to seek a warrant to wiretap Trump associates in the Russia probe. Mr. Trump and Republican allies have said the warrants were sought under false pretenses.
[Cross talk]

REPORTER: Can we get more clarity on who was responsible … [Inaudible]

TRUMP: We are getting clarity on that. Who is responsible for the weapons attack. We are getting very good clarity, actually. We have some pretty good answers. REPORTER: What are your options?

[Cross talk]

TRUMP: We have a lot of options militarily and we’ll be letting you know pretty soon.

AIDE: Thank you, everyone. Thank you all.

TRUMP: Probably after the fact.

AIDE: Thank you.


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